The mediating influence of organisational cultural practices in successful Lean Management Implementation

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Previous research shows a low success rate for lean implementations. Few studies have considered the role that organisational culture plays in lean implementations and specifically the interaction effects of Organisational Culture and Lean Management on Operating Performance. This research examines empirically the role that Organisational Culture (OC) plays in the relationship between Lean Practices (LPs) and Operational Performance (OP) using a survey of 295 UK manufacturers. Cultural dimensions are shown to fully mediate the impact of lean management practices on Operational Performance. The findings indicate that LPs are positively associated with organisational cultures that are procedurally focused, employee oriented, structurally open, socially loose, rule driven (norm) and market oriented. In contrast, LPs are negatively associated with results-oriented and pragmatic cultures, which also carried over to the impact on operating performance. The results highlight that a procedural focus is important for lean practice integration. Moreover, LPs are shown to be positively associated with the softer dimensions of culture (i.e. employee orientation and open communication), which appear to aid initial lean integration. However, only external market orientation is associated with improved operating performance. Overall, the findings provide new insights into the contextual factors associated with successful Lean implementations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107744
JournalInternational Journal of Production Economics
Early online date9 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Nov 2020


  • Lean implementation
  • Lean management
  • Operating performance
  • Organisational culture


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